We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising. To learn more, click here. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies. Cookie Policy.

Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Advertise with Us
Technopath Clinical Diagnostics

Download Mobile App

Same Nasal Swabs Used to Diagnose COVID-19 Could Also Identity Potentially Severe Cases

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 26 Jul 2021
Print article
Image: SARS-CoV-2 on the surface of a cultured cell (Photo courtesy of NIAID)
Image: SARS-CoV-2 on the surface of a cultured cell (Photo courtesy of NIAID)
A study has found that cells taken from nasal swabs of patients at the time of diagnosis who later developed severe COVID-19 showed a muted antiviral response, indicating that the same nasal swabs could be also used to identity potentially severe cases.

Researchers at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard (Cambridge, MA, USA), and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard (Cambridge, MA, USA), along with the team at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH); MIT; and the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) studied cells taken from nasal swabs of patients at the time of their initial COVID-19 diagnosis, comparing patients who went on to develop mild COVID-19 to those who progressed into more severe disease and eventually required respiratory support. Their results showed that patients who went on to develop severe COVID-19 exhibited a much more muted antiviral response in the cells collected from those early swabs, compared to patients who had a mild course of disease.

First, the team found that the antiviral response, driven by a family of proteins called interferons, was much more muted in patients who went on to develop severe COVID-19. Second, patients with severe COVID-19 had higher amounts of highly inflammatory macrophages, immune cells that contribute to high amounts of inflammation, often found in severe or fatal COVID-19. Since these samples were taken well before COVID-19 had reached its peak state of disease in the patients, both these findings indicate that the course of COVID-19 may be determined by the initial or very early response of the nasal epithelial and immune cells to the virus. The lack of strong initial antiviral response may allow the virus to spread more rapidly, increasing the chances that it can move from the upper to lower airways, while the recruitment of inflammatory immune cells could help drive the dangerous inflammation in severe disease.

Finally, the team also identified infected host cells and pathways associated with protection against infection — cells and responses unique to patients that went on to develop a mild disease. These findings may allow researchers to discover new therapeutic strategies for COVID-19 and other respiratory viral infections. If, as the team’s evidence suggests, the early stages of infection can determine disease, it opens a path for scientists to develop early interventions that can help prevent severe COVID-19 from developing. The team’s work even identified potential markers of severe disease, genes that were expressed in mild COVID-19 but not in severe COVID-19.

"Nearly all our severe COVID-19 samples lacked expression of several genes we would typically expect to see in an antiviral response," said Carly Ziegler, a graduate student in the Health Science and Technology program at MIT and Harvard and one of the study’s co-first authors. "If further studies support our findings, we could use the same nasal swabs we use to diagnose COVID-19 to identity potentially severe cases before severe disease develops, creating an opportunity for effective early intervention."

Related Links:
Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Gold Supplier
SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test
GLINE-2019-nCoV Rapid Antigen Test
Automated RNA Extraction & PCR Setup
Omnia LH 75 Pro
SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test
Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test (Nasal/Saliva)
Direct-to-PCR Workflow for SARS-COV-2 Detection
Direct to PCR SARS-COV-2 Solution

Print article



view channel
Image: The CellSearch Circulating Tumor Cell Kit is intended for the enumeration of circulating tumor cells of epithelial origin (CD45-, EpCAM+, and cytokeratins 8, 18+, and/or 19+ and PD-L1) in whole blood (Photo courtesy of CellSearch/Menarini Silicon Biosystems)

PD-L1 Expression in Circulating Tumor Cells Investigated for NSCLC

In non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), analysis of programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression in circulating tumor cells (CTCs) is a potential alternative to overcome the problems linked to the... Read more


view channel

Global Digital Polymerase Chain Reaction (dPCR) Market Projected to Reach Close to USD 1.15 Billion by 2028

The global digital polymerase chain reaction (dPCR) market is projected to grow at a CAGR of more than 9% from over USD 0.50 billion in 2020 to nearly USD 1.15 billion by 2028, driven primarily by rising... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2021 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.